Gone West - 'Canyons'
Colbie Caillat, Nelly Joy, Jason Reeves and Justin Young are becoming increasingly well known as the member's of one of country music's newest groups Gone West. Following up last year's Tides EP release, 12th June saw the release of their debut full length album. Full of super smooth harmonies, thought-provoking lyrics and catchy melodies, Canyons makes a strong play for album of the year.
All of the tracks from the group's EP are included on the release and I'd normally find that a little frustrating (bring on the new music!) and I'm still not 100% sold on their inclusion - although I love This Time - but one thing is very clear, you couldn't not include album opener Gone West. It feels like a perfect introduction to the four members of the band and I defy anyone to not tap their feet along right from the beginning. It's also nice to hear the vocals passed around the band members and, whilst the group's harmonies don't get too much chance to really shine (due to the alternating vocals), it's a great track to kick things off with.
Fans of Colbie Caillat's solo work may pick up on the similarity between her release of Never Getting Over You and Gone West's I'm Never Getting Over You and they would be right to as, apart from some lyrical re-writes and distinct production changes, they are the same song. Re-written as a piano led male/female duet, I'm Never Getting Over You is an incredible emotive addition to the release. The overall balladic feel to the track adds another dynamic and allows the real focus to be on the achingly emotive vocals, a real goosebump moment. Interestingly for such a sad song, it is in my opinion the real highlight of the album.
Tides has a very appealing relaxed vibe that leaves it feeling like a good choice to close the album (particularly as it makes you want to play the release through again!). Another track that sees the lead vocals alternate, I also really like the added touch of having the closing version in Hawaiian, it rounds out the track nicely. Tides manages to feel both well crafted and entirely natural, making it comfortable listening whilst still leaving the listener something to come back to.
Knew You merges a loosely reggae styled production, a sad lyric and a gutsy vocal surprisingly well and leaves the listener with something they wouldn't necessarily expect to hear. The various pieces of the track offer the listener a compelling musical journey and the interweaving vocal lines play off each other nicely. One of the initial tracks on the album I found myself particularly drawn to, I'm sure Knew You will be a popular addition to the release.
1) Gone West
2) Slow Down
3) What Could've Been
4) When To Say Goodbye
5) Knew You
7) I'm Never Getting Over You
8) Gamblin' Town
9) Talkin' Bout You
11) Home Is Where The Heartbreak Is
12) This Time
Having followed Colbie Caillat's music since the release of her debut album and often thinking she should release country music I was incredibly happy (and intrigued!) when I first heard the news about Gone West and listened to some of their music. Canyons is a fully cohesive album and feels like the group have been making music together for years. All four are undoubtedly strong vocalists and song-writers in their own rights and they have undoubtedly excelled themselves with this release. I'm really excited to hear how the group develops, definitely an album to have sitting proudly in your music collection!